According to officials from the Malawi Ministry of Health, nearly 1.5 million children under the age of five have received at least one dose of the malaria vaccine in the country since 2019. This news comes as the government is currently piloting the malaria vaccine in 11 districts across the nation.
In a statement released by the Secretary for Health, Samson Mndolo, the development is highlighted in anticipation of the upcoming 2023 World Malaria Day commemorations, which will be observed on 25th April. This year’s theme, ‘Time to deliver zero malaria: Invest, Innovate, Implement’, empowers communities and healthcare providers to commit to saving lives and ensuring thriving economies by ending malaria.
Mndolo explains that the theme serves as a call to action for all stakeholders to come together and work towards the common goal of ending malaria. By investing in innovative solutions and implementing effective strategies, progress can be made toward eliminating this deadly disease.
In light of the commemoration, events will be held tomorrow at Kabudula Community Ground in Lilongwe district to raise awareness and engage communities on the importance of malaria prevention and control. These events serve as a reminder that the fight against malaria requires collective efforts and ongoing commitment from all stakeholders. By working together, we can make significant strides toward achieving a malaria-free future.
The Ministry of Health’s efforts to combat malaria in Malawi have been ongoing for several years. In 2019, the country launched the pilot phase of the malaria vaccine, known as RTS, S/AS01, which is the first and only malaria vaccine to receive regulatory approval from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The vaccine is currently being distributed in 11 districts across Malawi, with plans to scale up the program to cover the entire country in the coming years. The vaccine has shown promising results in clinical trials, reducing the incidence of malaria by approximately 40 percent in children who received four doses of the vaccine.
Malaria is a major public health challenge in Malawi, with an estimated 5.6 million cases and 4,000 deaths reported annually. Children under the age of five are particularly vulnerable to the disease, accounting for approximately two-thirds of all malaria-related deaths in the country.
The Ministry of Health’s vaccination program is therefore a significant step towards reducing the burden of malaria and improving the health outcomes of Malawi’s population, particularly its most vulnerable members.
In addition to the vaccination program, the Ministry of Health has implemented a range of other measures to prevent and control malaria, including the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, and improved access to diagnosis and treatment.
Despite these efforts, however, there is still much work to be done to achieve the goal of zero malaria in Malawi. The theme of this year’s World Malaria Day is a call to action for all stakeholders to step up their efforts and commit to ending malaria once and for all. By investing in innovative solutions, implementing effective strategies, and working together, we can make significant progress toward achieving a malaria-free future in Malawi and beyond.